12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Weekdays can be very busy. Pastoring is so definitely not a ‘Sunday only’ job. Typically there is church work of some sort be done at least 7 days a week, and for emergencies you are on call 24/7/365. Praise God, He provides balance, and there is great joy in seeing Him work in the lives of the people around you, great joy indeed. But with time being tight, despite the hectic schedule, I look forward very much to the time I spend with my kids in our bible studies together. I want to share a bit of that with you all today.
For the first time, I gave all three children a homework assignment for this bible study. I wanted each of them to show me something, anything from scripture that they did not know before. Wyatt, my oldest son did exactly that. At 14 Wyatt is a young man. Growing by leaps and bounds, now nearly as tall as me, sharp in intellect and wit, and with his voice now changing as he sounds as if he is turning into Barry White, he is also maturing spiritually as well.
He came to me with this passage out of James 1:12. Then he read it to me. Then he went on to show me that even though as parents we sometimes do not see it, that God is working in his life.
None of us know how much time we have before us on this, the God created earth. As Christians we all have the promise of our future with bridegroom ahead of us. But when will that time come? Sooner for some than others, this is for certain. But in the mean time, not knowing how long we have, each trial or rough spell we go through we must persevere. Seeing and hearing this concept expressed through the experience of a new believer or a young person can be, well, a little odd. As old fogies, our first thoughts (of the flesh of course) are, ‘what can you teach ME about perseverance? You’re only 14!” But when you look into the eyes of that person as they explain what that means to them, you are drawn back to that simplicity of the gospel, and that love drives it all.
Understanding and waiting with anticipation the blessing for perseverance is something we all must learn. But what that blessing might be, or what we imagine it to be can be far different for a 14 year old than a 45 year old. Even more importantly, understanding that one must persevere the temptation in order to see that blessing can be very motivating. Knowing that we have been approved by God because we have persevered is a boost to our faith that may not ever be topped. Life can be very hard for us. For some it is financial matters. For others it might be health or disease. For still others, it might be not lashing out at that bully in the playground or gym who likes to push our buttons. For the very young in age and young in Christ it might be as simple as making it through the day without forgetting to do your chores. Not matter what we are called to persevere, we must obey God in that. But we must just as equally understand that to do so is to be blessed and approved of by God.
Wyatt did teach me that day. He taught me a lot. He taught me that understanding comes from God, and that it comes in ways that others may not understand, or that others may not see. He also taught me that the love we have for God sometimes needs to be expressed in very personal ways as we mature. And he taught me that I need to be patient with the Lord, and trust Him to know that the work that I want to do, is already being done by Him. That short visit opened my eyes in many ways. God humbles me often as we have a tendency to take too much control of things spiritual that the Holy Spirit must do. God is so working among us. In our families, in our churches, and I believe we will see it all the more as things begin to crumble around us. The meek inherit the earth. All others inherit something else.